Charity seeks home for kitten that is neither male nor female
Fifteen-week-old Hope was found to have no sex organs, possibly because of rare development failure.
The Guardian reports that a homeless kitten has stunned vets at a UK animal charity, being the first cat they have seen that is neither male nor female.
Hope, a 15-week-old tabby and white cat, was originally thought to be female when it was admitted to the Cats Protection rescue centre in Warrington, but vets found no external sex organs.
Cats Protection’s senior field veterinary officer, Fiona Brockbank, said it appeared to be a case of agenesis – the failure of an organ to develop – which she and her colleagues had never seen before.
Vets said they had seen hermaphrodite cats – with male and female sex organs – though they were rare. However, after an investigation, they found Hope had no sex organs, externally or internally.
Brockbank said: “There’s an outside possibility of some ectopic ovarian tissue hiding away internally but we think this is extremely unlikely… This is so rare that there isn’t really a commonly used term for this condition, but it is effectively sexual organ agenesis.
“While this means we don’t have any previous cases
Hope, who is described as a playful kitten, has endeared itself to staff and volunteers at Cats Protection’s Warrington adoption centre, where it was first admitted and underwent investigations, and the Tyneside adoption centre in Gateshead.
The Tyneside centre manager, Beni Benstead, said: “Discovering Hope’s special status has been an exciting time, as none of us has seen this before or is likely to again.
“Hope has been a delight to care for and it is fantastic that they are now ready to be adopted. We know they will bring someone many years of fun and companionship. We would also be extremely grateful to hear updates on our Tyneside superstar.”
(Story source: The Guardian)